Guy Fawkes was a terrorist or a martyr—depending on your perspective—in England. In 1604, he was involved in a plot to blow up Parliament using kegs of gunpowder below the House of Lords in an attempt to restore the Catholic church to power in England. The plot completion was set for the normal meeting of July 28, 1605, but the present threat of the plague set the meeting back to November 5th. The plot was discovered, however, and Guy Fawkes, also known as Guido Fawkes, was captured guarding the powder before the plot could materialize. The main target of the plot was King James I.
Interestingly, Fawkes used the pseudonym of John Johnson and the Tor Johnson Halloween mask reigned supreme in the late 1950s to early 1960s. Fawkes was subsequently tortured and convicted to hang. He fell from the gallows, however, cheating the hangman by breaking his neck. Each year on November 5th, he is burned in effigy.
The mask was first seen in a comic book series called V for Vendetta which was adapted into a movie in 2005—400 years after the plot to blow up the House of Lords. The man in the Guy Fawkes mask was “V,” shadowy rebel taking on the tyrannical government of his time.
The mask has recently become the face of “anonymous,” the face against the greed of the capitalist corporations. Hundreds of anonymous videos have taunting and threatening the rise of the corporate oligarchy.
Around November 5th of this year, however, Internet Business Times reported that a series of pictures have been published on the Internet showing a sweat shop factory in São Gonçalo, Brazil laboring to create the popular anonymous masks. The kicker? Since Time Warner adapted the comic book series, they own the rights to the image reaping huge profits from sale of the popular anonymous mask.
Ironic, isn’t it?